A GROUP of teenagers raised money to help elderly men at The Gosport Shed as part of their National Citizen Service Programme.
The Shed group, based at St Vincent’s College, was founded in 2013 as a workshop and social centre for men over the age of 55, as a way to fight isolation and depression in their retirement years.
The youngsters raised £400 by organising a 13-mile sponsored walk around Gosport.
The money has been used to buy specialist paint pots and gardening equipment to spruce up one of the workshops.
The charity is virtually self-funded by its 80 members, who pay an annual subscription of £25, with some regular donations from the Southern Co-op and Rotary Club.
Harry Ansell, 64, chairman of The Gosport Shed, said: ‘I would like to thank the group very much, we appreciate it being self-funded and by helping us they are helping themselves.’
John West, one of the service users, was referred to The Gosport Shed by counselling service iTalk, following the depression he had since leaving the Navy as a former marine engineer.
Mr West said: ‘The Garden Shed has given me a new lease of life.
‘It has taken many of us out of doctors’ surgeries and off our medication.’
The NCS is a government-funded four-week programme, which encourages teenagers between the ages of 15-17 to make new friends and develop their employability skills and prepare for higher education.
The group spent their first week teambuilding with water sports and rock climbing activities at an outdoor centre in Gower, Wales.
The second week taught them how to live independently in university-style accommodation, giving them the opportunity to shop and cook for themselves.
A social action is decided within the third and fourth weeks to encourage making a difference within their local communities.
Christopher Taulbut, who is taking part in the programme, said: ‘Since I started the programme I feel different, more confident in myself. I have met lots of good people and made friends for life.’